Things You Need to Know if You Plan a Startup
What are the secrets of successful startup founders? Is a mentor really necessary? How can people believe in my idea?
We often hear about startups that have changed the world, the ideas of founders who followed their passion, and with persistence achieved everything. Many of them started as an idea from the “garage”, and grew into the strongest companies in the world.
What exactly does a startup bring with it? And what if we have an idea, then what?
The risk that we hear about every day, how people leave everything in order to devote themselves to their idea, is not so realistic. Not if you really want to succeed. This doesn’t mean that risk doesn’t exist, and that you won’t have to accept sacrifices in pursuing your idea.
Backup plan. It is little known that after founding Apple with Jobs in 1976, Steve Wozniak continued to work as an engineer at Hewlett-Packard until 1977. The founders of Google, although they had already figured out how to improve Internet searches, did not give up their post-graduate studies two years later. And the founder of I-Bay left his job as a programmer only when he started earning more from his hobby than at work.
There is a high probability that the timing is not right. More precisely – that you are not up to the task. But don’t worry, this is not a discouraging fact. It just means that if you as a student are embarking on something big and dreaming of an idea that will change the world – what you most likely lack is experience.
If you have professionals from certain fields by your side, ready to support your dream – embrace the opportunity and absorb all possible knowledge. This is one of the reasons why science and technology parks represent a place for the birth of ideas – because science works right next to the economy and vice versa. Thus, even young people, at studies and without a day’s work experience, can learn and later apply useful things for their potential business.
Give yourself time to learn, to make mistakes and ultimately – to gain experience. At the faculty, and outside of it, in real business conditions keep working on your dream. It is absolutely possible to have it all.
Studies and new ideas should not be mutually exclusive, but should encourage each other, if you are persistent enough, you will push everything you imagined and maybe much more. Even if you are not one of those weighing, think if the timing is right, because you can have an idea worth millions, if the market or maybe you, are not ready for it – it will not work. So the risk is there and prepare for it. But learn to distinguish between healthy risk and all-or-nothing risk. In the worst case, if you gambled on a “healthy risk” and failed – you can always try again. For which you should definitely prepare yourself, because you will surely repeat some things over and over and over again.
Misconceptions of startup founders. There are many misconceptions about startups. One of them is that everything will go according to the original plan. Be prepared that it won’t. Every day you will “discover a new horizon” and become more aware of the complexity of each part of the task that is put before you. So – practice flexibility. And get ready for the dynamics.
Market research is half the job. Although experience is gained and knowledge is gradually absorbed – you can always do your best to prepare as well as possible and explore everything available to you. And you will not succeed in a short time – it is a process that does not stop.
A business plan. Some think that they do not need a business plan if they have initial capital and do not plan to secure funds from loans. A business plan is much more than a piece of paper that you submit when applying for funding. It will help you to get a realistic view of the facts, think about your value proposition and your users and eliminate the risk of lack of capital. As well as benefiting you, it should be a summary of how you operate – and help anyone else who looks at it understand your story.
Mentors, actually people who have some specific experience, who deal with seeing an idea like yours from the right angle and finding “cracks” in it. Mentors are crucial for the development of your business.
Expertise. R.H. Grant said “When you hire people who are smarter than you, you’ve proven that you’re smarter than them.” That’s why expertise is key. It is not up to you to know everything, although you should know almost everything. It’s not even up to you to wonder about everything, although it will certainly be like that in the beginning. But as things get more complex, you have to recognize when you need to delegate and rely on others. And therefore, make your team of experts. Let everyone be in charge of what they are best at, what they enjoy. This will ensure satisfaction, motivation of your team members and less headaches for you.
Whatever stage you are in starting a business – this is what you strive for. That you have experts around you, to whom it is possible to entrust all the tasks. You only really have a business when it is possible to leave it, and it continues to function smoothly. And to ever get to that stage, choose and play wisely right from the start. All this won’t help you if you don’t understand one thing. A startup is a marathon, not a sprint. Get ready for a long marathon.